When we arrived back at Gus’s house from the Bristol show it was gone four in the morning. “Take Maud’s bed.” He said opening the door to his own rooms. He turned back with a dejected look in his eye.
“There’s a hog in my bed” he said, “sleeping.” He returned to the Landing with a genial smile and said that is was no mind and that he could take the settee for the night. It can often be the case that at Iron Mountain the sleeping facilities are liberally dished out in an instance for the common good. I could hear the hog grunting and tussling with sleep behind the door. He sounded like a large fellow. I thanked Gus for the hospitality and went to bed.
I woke late the next morning and pulling myself out of bed, dressed and went into the Kitchen. There, I was confronted with a large pig, stood on his hind legs tending to a smoking pan on the oven top that hissed at intervals with alarming volatility. He was dressed in a three-piece Harris Tweed suit although the jacket was hanging on the back of a chair. His shirtsleeves were rolled up and over his waistcoat he wore a plastic, chince-patterned apron. I guessed the suit was tailor-made because there was a deliberate hole at the back where from his tail protruded with just cause. The kitchen was in chaos; dishes were piled up over and around the sink. A blackened pan was melted into to the linoleum floor, bottles and jars filled the sideboard in a sticky, blind panic. By the kettle eggshells created a nest for a soggy heap of watery tea bags.
“How do you do?” He said.
“Well” I said, “my name’s Sam” I said extending my hand.
“Oh do forgive me!” he said dropping the spoon and wiping his trotter on his apron. “I’m afraid I can quite forget myself when at the stove. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Arnold and whom do I have the honour of addressing?”
“I’m Sam.” I said again, raising my eyebrows and dipping my head back into the conversation with a prompting gesture.
“But of course! I’m terribly sorry, you’ve already told me that, I’m afraid I can quite forget myself when at the stove.”
“No problem” I say. “A pleasure to meet you. Would you like some coffee?”
“Ah but relax my dear fellow you have had a long and tiring excursion as I am to take it. No, you just sit there and relax, allow me. Coffee is on its way along with breakfast – Kippers and eggs. Sunny side up!” The hog chuckled to himself contently. He soon handed me a large plate of grilled kippers with two fried eggs and a slice of hot buttered soda bread.
“Bon appetite” he said with a wide brimmed smile. His smile blanched as a look of grave apology formed when he saw me eye the disarray “Oh but I’m afraid I’m a terribly messy house guest” his countenance lightened again “but I make an excellent pot of coffee” he poured me a steaming cup fresh from the peculator.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said, “I don’t think the guys will mind.”